Language, gender and religion : an investigation into some genderspecific issues in religious texts and the impact of language on the role of woman injudaism, christianity and islam
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The thesis begins by providing background information about the concept of gender within the linguistic, feminist and religious context. Possible definitions of the difference between sex and gender are offered and the position of gender issues in the realm of language is discussed. In continuation an introduction to religious feminism and its different types is given. Before the discussion of the core of the thesis, a presentation of the research investigation included in this work is given. Its aim and methods applied are elaborated. The central part of the thesis can be divided into four parts which are interconnected. First, different linguistic aspects of the gender discourse are outlined. During this process religious texts of the three Abrahamic religions are in focus. Issues like inclusive and exclusive language, gender-neutral scriptures, the connection between religion and linguistics, the hermeneutical philosophy and the translation of the Word of God are discussed in detail. As the interpretation of religious texts regarding gender has influenced the lives of women for millennia, much attention and space are given to the various interpretative approaches to some misogynic texts in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The issue of gender in the respective religious traditions is treated generally, with special focus on texts included in the survey in order to offer a theoretical basis for the elaboration of the results of the research investigation. The gender of God, a controversial, even provocative, topic, is treated in a separate chapter as it is considered significant among religious feminists. In the course of this chapter the linguistic reasons for the masculinisation of God inherent in the Semitic languages were discussed. Furthermore, the alleged necessity of a male God and the possibility of a male saviour to save women are questioned. The interesting female aspects of the Divine in the three Abrahamic faiths are touched upon, as well. The thesis is concluded with the elaboration of the results arrived at in a research investigation conducted among today‘s Jewish, Christian and Muslim women. Their responses are presented in the light of the three previous chapters and contrasted to each other.
Masteroppgave i engelsk- Universitetet i Agder 2011